Position Title: Astronomy Assistant
Park Unit: Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park, Waco Mammoth National Monument
Location: Johnson City, Texas
Number of positions available: 1
Can this position be fully remote: NO

Duration: 52 Weeks (not flexible)
Start Date: 10/07/2024
Flexible Start Date: YES

Weekly Stipend: $565.00
Relocation Allowance: $400.00

CURRENT NUMBER OF APPLICANTS: Under 75 (This posting will close after receiving 75 complete applications or at 11:59 p.m. EDT on Sunday, 16 June, whichever occurs first.)

The intern will assist with the development, training, and implementation of Dark Sky programming at the Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park. As a certified Dark Sky Park, LYJO has the equipment and audience ready for highly successful dark sky programs, and the incumbent in this position will provide the expert knowledge and skills needed by the interpretive staff to engage the visiting public. This internship will be composed of three phases:

Phase one: The intern will work closely with their supervisor to explore the possible programmatic opportunities in 2024 and beyond by developing a comprehensive Night Sky Interpretive Program Plan. This will expose the incumbent to the important planning process and solidify their understanding of the staff capacity for programs. This phase will then shift to developing the programs using sustainable documentation that meets the NPS standards for interpretation and leverage their knowledge of the subject. As the on-site Subject Matter Expert, the incumbent will be expected to research additional astronomical information, familiarize themselves with emerging practices for astronomic exploration, and develop an expert understanding of how to use the equipment and technology that the park owns, which includes Dobsonian, solar, and Celestron telescopes.

Phase two: The intern will leverage their expert knowledge on the technology and content to develop a training program for the LYJO interpretive staff on using the astronomy technology. This training program will be developed under close supervision by their supervisor, who will remain available for support as much as is needed. After the training program is developed, it will be implemented for all interested staff, and mandated for all LYJO interpretive staff.

Phase three: The intern will finish off their time at LYJO by implementing the programs alongside LYJO interpretive staff, kicking off the Night Sky Interpretive Program Plan. They will demonstrate the technology and assist LYJO interpretive staff in continuing to develop understanding and ownership of the technology and technical information.

Additionally, LYJO staff will work closely with interested Astronomy clubs and communities in the Texas Hill Country and the Austin metropolitan area. The intern will be an advocate and use the programs as a way of encouraging visitors to participate in the protection and preservation of dark skies as a natural resource for everyone to enjoy.

This position will also be shared with the sister park, WACO. As an urban park, WACO has the unique opportunity to reach a broader audience of local community members. The time at WACO will be a consolidated and truncated form of the above work schedule, with a more focused intent on training the Waco City Parks and Recreation staff on the technical components involved. This will help further the partnership between the NPS and the partners at WACO.

As an advocate for nights skies, the intern will coordinate with their supervisor to promote protection and preservation of night skies in the Texas Hill Country. Additionally, by bringing night sky programs to the visiting public, the intern will encourage the public participation in protection and preservation of night skies. These programs will also expand the programmatic opportunities that LYJO interpretive staff can utilize in the future, and further embed the resources at LYJO as community assets for everyone to enjoy.

At WACO there will be similar impacts but with the added bonus of speaking to the local community about a resource that is theirs to own and protect from their backyards. There are also potential community partners to collaborate with, and opportunities to work with organizations about limiting the effects of light pollution throughout the area.


The work products from this internship are:

  • The annual Night Sky Interpretive Program Plan
  • Development of a Body of Knowledge for future interpretive staff to use to help create their own Night Sky programs, such as;
  • List of books/literature to read.
  • Trainings that can be attended or viewed online.
  • Manuals for equipment and where to find them.
  • Night Sky Training Program and relevant SOPs for equipment use.
  • A unique Night Sky interpretive program plan that the intern will develop with guidance from their supervisor.


Desired candidates will be those who are comfortable working in diverse environments, communicating with different team members. They should be capable of working in teams or alone, depending on project needs as priorities shift from time to time. Candidates should have working knowledge of astronomy technology, astronomy technical knowledge, and be capable of conveying this information in simple and accessible language.

The applicant must be a U.S. citizen or U.S. legal permanent resident (“Green Card holder”). Prior to starting this position, a government security background clearance will be required. The applicant must be available to participate for 52 Weeks in order to be considered and participate.

Johnson City is located 60 minute drive north of San Antonio, and about 45 minutes drive west of Austin. It is a smaller 'rural' town, with all of the needed stores within town and easily accessible. The intern will have access to their office space, which is located across the street from housing. They will be provided an individual work station that is near their supervisors office, with daily contact with the supervisor.

Additionally, LYJO's Dark Sky certified location is at the park's Ranch district, which is located about 20 minutes drive towards Stonewall, Texas. There, the intern will be able to leverage their work for night sky programming. Due to the distance from Johnson City, while it is not required that the intern drive a government vehicle, it is highly recommended that they are able to do so when working at the Ranch district.

While working at WACO, the work setting will take place just north of the City of Waco. There are two buildings that provide office space, and the intern would be provided a work station nearby to their supervisor. They would be a part of the NPS team which is made up of 3 full-time staff, and 1 part-time staff. Additionally, the park is staffed by rangers from the City of Waco, numbered around 20 staff. The intern would have the opportunity to work closely with both NPS and City staff.


  • Applicant will not need to drive a government vehicle.
  • A personal vehicle is REQUIRED for this position.

Park housing is available and will be provided at no cost to the participant. LYJO currently has multiple shared housing units. Each unit is planned accordingly to provide comfortable living situations for interns and seasonal staff. Units provide basic furniture, including tables, desks, chairs, mattress. Interns will need to provide toiletries, towels, bedding, etc.

Additionally, this internship over the course of 52 weeks would have an opportunity to work at WACO. We are in the process of securing housing through our partnership with the Waco Foundation to include apartments that are located in the City of Waco.

Astronomy, Community, Education, Culture, Preservation

This posting will close after receiving 75 complete applications, or at 11:59 p.m. EDT on Sunday, 16 June, whichever occurs first. Once you begin applying for a position, the application must be completed in one sitting. You cannot save and return later to complete it. Applicants can apply for up to five Scientists in Parks Intern positions per winter. You need to complete a separate application for each position in order to be considered. You should receive a confirmation email after successfully submitting an application. Sometimes institutional email filters/settings can redirect or block emails related to the application. We recommend watching spam, junk, and promotional email folders in case your service delivers messages there. Please visit How to Apply for additional resources and information about applying (i.e., learn what materials to have ready for applying, find a worksheet that previews application questions, etc.)